Saturday, November 6, 2010

Presentation by Dr. Johnson-Ross

     This Thursday we had the pleasure of having Dr. Johnson-Ross present on the African American Storytelling Tradition.  The presentation left me feeling as though I did not know enough about American history as I should.  The Brownies Book was a publication of which I have never heard.   In learning more about this I began to think that I did not know much about a major part of American History.  I greatly enjoyed her presentation and the history of how folk tales were used in the African American culture.

     I was more expecting her presentation to focus on actual tales of which were prominent in African American culture, but it was much more interesting than that.  It was so interesting to learn how The Brownies Book used folk tales, games, and songs from around the world to help African Americans with the great segregation in America.  By sharing knowledge with each other in the African American community through publications such as this as well as among neighbors.
     These stories are unique in that all the stories that we read were featured around animals as characters unlike the European tales in which humans were the characters.  This may be, for one major reason, that animals are not discriminated by color, but they are just whatever animal they are.  There is no distinction of the frogs in, "How Mr. Crocodile Got His Rough Back" being of different races.  But rather, they all work together and trick the greater beast, being the crocodile.

     One thing that Dr. Johnson-Ross made a point of was the cover of The Brownies Book.  It was something that I initially disregarded as being relatively unimportant.  But after she pointed it out, I realized that the cover makes such a huge statement.  A statement that can not go unnoticed.  This cover that I found from January 1920 is representative of that.  It depicts a young African American woman wearing white and she looks just so happy.  It is showing that the future does bring happiness and unity. I greatly enjoyed her speech and hope to learn more about a part of history which lacked in my textbooks.  

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